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Gluten Free Cranberry Bread

Gluten Free Cranberry Bread

Gluten Free Cranberry Bread
























Cranberries are a bit of a funny little fruit. They can be so tart that they make you pucker just to think about them, but when they cook down they can seem so completely different you barely even recognize them. Especially when you add some sugar. And anyway this time of year we have to bake and cook with cranberries. We have to. And I’m here to say that you’re gonna want to. This gluten free cranberry bread is super moist, lightly sweet and only lightly tart. Fall perfection.

Gluten Free Cranberry Bread

If you ask me, a quickbread should be perfectly browned on the outside (it should leave crumbs behind when you slice it, you see), then soft and lightly sweet on the inside. And if you’re mixing in fruit, for the love of all things baked, don’t let that fruit clump in one spot or another. Studded throughout. The fruit should be studded throughout.

Gluten Free Cranberry Bread

It’s easy to make the fruit behave, too. Just follow the instructions below that call for halving the cranberries (otherwise? just too big) and then tossing them with a tablespoon of the dry ingredients and a tablespoon of sugar before folding them into the batter. It helps them stay put during baking.

Gluten Free Cranberry Bread

You can leave the sprinkling of sugar off the top of the loaf, but I’m not entirely sure why you would do such a thing. I thought you loved your family. Oh, and this makes a very full loaf. So full that the batter itself will pretty much fill the pan. That’s just the way you want.

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Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 1 loaf cranberry bread


8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon

3 eggs (180 g, out of shell) at room temperature

2 1/2 cups (350 g) all-purpose gluten-free flour  (I used my Better Than Cup4Cup blend once, and Mock Better Batter another – both came out great)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

10 ounces fresh cranberries, halved

2/3 cup milk, at room temperature

1/4 cup (56 g) sour cream, at room temperature (can substitute Greek-style plain yogurt)

Coarse sugar (like Sugar in the Raw), for sprinkling


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease well a standard (9-inches x 5-inches or slightly smaller) loaf pan and set it aside.

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a large bowl with a handheld mixer, place the butter. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the 1 cup of granulated sugar and the eggs, beating well after each addition.

  • In a separate, medium-size bowl, place the flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and whisk to combine well. Place the cranberry halves in a separate, small bowl, and add a tablespoon of the dry ingredients to the cranberries, along with the remaining tablespoon of granulated sugar, and toss to coat. Set the cranberries aside.

  • To the mixing bowl with the butter and sugar mixture, add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk and sour cream, alternating between the two and beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. The mixture will be thick but smooth. Add the cranberries and reserved sugar and dry ingredients, and mix gently into the batter until evenly distributed throughout.

  • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top. It will fill or nearly fill the pan. Sprinkle the top lightly with coarse sugar. Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake, rotating once, until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (about 1 hour). Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Slice thickly and serve.



P.S. Don’t forget to enter the Bread Memories Giveaway Contest! Just leave a comment saying something nice about Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread (like, I pre-ordered it, hopefully!) and then tell us all about your best, most memorable bread moment from your pre-glutenfree days, and be entered to win a TON of great stuff (including a signed copy of the book!).

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  • Donia Robinson

    I will be making this today! I have a mega bag of cranberries (yes, from my beloved Costco), and I was going to search your site last night for cranberry recipes. But then I had do emergency bake some white sandwich bread for lunches today, so I didn’t.

    Oh, and one of my favorite quickbreads pre-GF was the cranberry orange bread off the fresh cranberries package (Ocean Spray brand, maybe?). So I might have to do a taste-off between your bread with and without a little orange… ;)

    • Ooooh that sounds good, Donia! Try replacing a bit of the milk with orange juice (fresh-squeezed if you can) and add some orange zest. I bet it would be awesome! xo Nicole

      • Jennifer Sasse

        I concur – that would be so lovely – tell us how it goes Donia. And I have another recipe for you with cranberries that I’m loving – naturally GF too! I will send today.

      • Linda

        I was just coming on here to ask what you thought of incorporating some orange. I made this recipe this afternoon and it was delicious! But I do think I would like a bit of orange in it, and I was wondering if just zest would do it or if I should use some oj, too. Do you think maybe 1/3 cup oj as a milk replacement? And by the way, I love your recipes. I haven’t tried one yet that doesn’t come out just like you show it! This was a beautiful loaf of bread, and a great use for the cranberries that have been in my freezer for awhile – they worked just fine thawed and sliced in half.

        • Donia Robinson

          The Ocean Spray recipe I referred to above uses all orange juice as the liquid and 1 Tbsp grated orange peel.

    • Bethany

      oooo…something possessed me to purchase a ginormous bag of chopped candied orange peel from nuts.com – they might be going into this bread as well as into any/all muffins, hot breakfast cereal, and anything else that lends itself to orange!

  • Anneke

    Leave the sprinkling of sugar off the top? Really? There are people who do that? Huh. I am not those people!

    • I know, right, Anneke?! I try to accept people and their differences. But sometimes, I struggle. ;)

      • Jennifer Sasse

        This is why we all get a long….

  • Kayla Mary

    Could I use coconut sugar instead of granulated sugar?

    • Hi, Kayla, Good question. I haven’t tried this recipe with that substitution, so I can’t be sure. Although I love baking with coconut palm sugar, I find that it does behave a bit differently than regular granulated. I’d try experimenting with a bit less coconut sugar, by weight (say, 175 grams instead of 200?). Let us know how it turns out!

  • Jennifer Sasse

    Thank you for another great recipe – this looks divine – both yummy and pretty! I can’t wait to see what else you have up your sleeve for the holidays!

  • Nicole, you are my hero! Taking a leave day tomorrow to get ready for
    the painter, will pop this in the oven so I can have a treat when I’m
    done with the linen closets!

    • Sounds good, Louanne! Oddly, organizing the linen closets sounds like a great day to me. :)

      • I made your bread last Friday – so delicious and just perfect for the season. The husband loved it and asked me to make it weekly. I tossed in some walnuts just because we love nuts – love!

  • Charlotte Moore

    I keep looking at your flour percentages. I can not figure out the best way to do this. I can do ounces but these percentages throw me. Is there a way to figure out easily?

    • Charlotte, please read the top section on the flour page about “How to Use These Infographics.” It gives an example using 1 cup of the Mock Better Batter mix. The percentages are used to make the recipe adaptable to smaller and larger amounts of flour than just 1 cup.

  • karen

    That looks yummy Nicole! can’t wait to try it. Hey, what is going on with Amazon? they sent me a third shipping delay on your cookbook–check this out-they are driving me crazy!

    Hunn, Nicole “Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread: (Biscuits, Bagels, Buns, and More)”
    Estimated arrival date: December 13, 2013 – December 17, 2013

    • Hi, Karen, I’m afraid that delay is on my publisher’s end once more (although it will NOT happen again as I am expecting a review copy hot off the presses any day now). BUT, the good news is that my publisher’s amazon rep has promised to do everything he can to ship pre-orders still on November 25, as originally planned (even though amazon will be receiving the book a week later than originally planned). So ignore that date from amazon, and get ready to receive the book (fingers crossed!) the week of Nov. 25 (depending upon the speed of your shipping!).

      • Marianne

        Hope so…I just got the delay message too, ordered in August…can’t wait!

        • Jennifer Sasse

          Me too – on.the.verge.of.tears.!!!

          • SO SORRY! I’m really so so sorry, everyone. It apparently took the production department at my publisher quite a long time to incorporate very carefully all of the changes I did in the last stage of production. That is what my editor said caused the delay. So it’s my fault, I guess! But I am actually expecting a hot-of-the-presses copy “any minute” so I know it’s not going to be delayed again! And, Karen, ALL denominations of prayer are gratefully accepted! Pray pray pray!

      • karen

        OK! We are all going to pray that this comes out on November 25 so we all stop whining to you! :-)

  • Tanya

    Is your book going to be available for Ibooks? If so when, I want to buy the book but I use it on my IPad. I have your other books as well?

    • It sure will be, Tanya. I’m afraid I don’t know when, just as I don’t know when it will be available in kindle format, except that it will all certainly be available by the official publication date, 12/10. I hope that helps!

  • doris hull

    I’m alergic to casine. Any suggestions for replacing the milk products? Don’t have time to experiment this close to “T” Day. I also have your other books (also donated copies to my public library) & am waiting on my Amazon pre-order. Thanks for sharing so many wonderful recipes on your blog. Love, Doris

    • Donia Robinson

      Hi Doris, I am a rebellious friend of Nicole’s. Anytime she posts a recipe I want to make, I tweak it to make it dairy free so I can eat it without being sick. I actually made this recipe this morning. Instead of butter, I used 50% vegan margarine and 50% shortening. (Margarine has more water than butter does, and shortening has no water at all.) Then, I used almond milk for the milk and sour cream (going a little shy on the amount since the milk is thinner than sour cream, of course). I actually do this quite regularly with her recipes – use dairy-free milk in place of sour cream or yogurt, and it seems to work well for me. Is it exactly like hers? Probably not. Is it very moist and tasty, with the right balance of sweet and a little sour from the cranberries? Definitely! I don’t think I will hear any complaints from my family!


  • Diane

    Can you use egg replacers with this recipe??? I have an egg allergy.

  • Donia Robinson

    BTW, my husband is cranky because I have not made the brownie brittle. Cranberry bread is all well and good, but where’s the brownie brittle??

  • Samantha

    This sounds amazing! My mom makes cranberry bread with orange zest and some orange juice. I haven’t been able to re-create this in a gf recipe. Think it would work in this one? Can I omit some of the ingredients to add the orange that I fondly remember?!

    • Donia Robinson

      Hi Samantha, I was thinking the same thing! This is Nicole’s response to my comment about it: “Try replacing a bit of the milk with orange juice (fresh-squeezed if you
      can) and add some orange zest. I bet it would be awesome!” I made the bread yesterday without orange yesterday (there is one slice left), and I plan to make an orange-ified version soon!

  • 2doghouse

    I also pre-ordered your book and can’t wait to make something that tastes like bread. I bought a cranberry pound cake a few weeks ago. It was so bitter tasting I had to throw it out. I’ll definitely make this one.

  • AllieBoBallie

    This is yet another recipe that makes me excited to get Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread, which I pre-ordered from Amazon about two seconds after I read the first blog post that mentioned it.

    The bread I miss the most from my pre-gluten-free days is the challah my mom used to bake on a regular basis and still bakes occasionally. Her mom (my Nana) was the executive secretary at a Los Angeles synagogue that produced a cookbook of traditional Jewish recipes (back in the 1950s or 1960s), and I’m 99% sure the recipe originated from one of the synagogue’s members or that member’s family. The bread is so rich and eggy, so moist but flaky, and so freaking fantastic in every possible application (sandwiches, toast, grilled cheese, french toast, bread pudding, etc.) that I made it constantly in college. Perhaps better than the bread in and of itself is the fact that it would remind me of home, my mom, and my Nana who passed when I was in high school. If I get advanced notice of my own death, I will make a loaf and revel in eating it before I go the way of all things.

  • Hollie

    My favorite gluten cranberry bread had orange juice and zest in it. I added pecans or walnuts for crunch. But the best part was a burnt butter icing. I never thought I would taste that bread again… You’ve made it possible with this recipe. The kids and I missed out on cranberry bread last year, but never again. Thank you!!

  • Heather

    This was absolutely delicious! My Turkish husband (where bread is the center of every meal) has been great with following a GF lifestyle with me but said that this was the first bread item he’s had since making the big switch that tasted like “real” bread! He can’t wait until your bread baking book comes out and neither can I! Thanks for the great recipe xo

  • calipidgious

    I am looking forward to exploring with the new bread book. I haven’t pre-ordered but it is on my annual Xmas Wishlist that goes out to friends and family. My fondest bread memories are of when I was a child. On snow days my mother who worked at Fantini Bakery in Haverhill, Mass would bring me in with her and I remember that there was a spot where the loaves that didn’t come out just right went. I could be found pulling the still hot inside of the loaves out and eating it. I have loved bread my entire life but that is my earliest memory of absolute bread heaven!

  • Dana Gerstlauer

    I’ve preordered the bread book and am eagerly waiting for it to arrive! My funniest bread baking story is when I made a batch of dinner rolls. I turned the oven on for a minute or two to warm the oven a little and then popped my dough into the oven to rise in a bright yellow plastic bowl. When I returned in an hour to check on it I found that I had forgotten to turn the oven off. My dough had risen, but the bowl had completely melted! What a mess…..I never have forgotten to turn the oven off again when prewarming it!! Thanks for all that you do, Nicole!

  • Leanne Carter Dupont

    This will be my first time making any type of gluten free baked good from scratch
    . I want to add the OJ and zest but want to do it right. Should I supplement the OJ for all of the milk, or half the milk and then add the rest OJ? Also, can I use gluten free bisquick? Thanks!!

  • Holy moly that looks good. I’m so making this for Thanksgiving. I can hear the oohs and ahhs, now. I might have to make a test loaf first . . . Heh.

  • Lynn A. Decker

    I made this, and it was AMAZING (I went the lazy route and used Cup4Cup).

    One note, though: I used a glass (Pyrex) loaf pan that was slightly smaller than the dimensions cited, and it took FOREVER to bake the bread, and I ended up tenting it so that it wouldn’t burn. I think using the correct size pan is key (and I’ll do that next time!). It was still amazingly delicious.

    I think I’m going to try to make it into a coffee cake with a streusel topping next time, as my niece didn’t care for the cranberries (she’s 7 – she can be funny about some kinds of fruit), but loved the berry-free cake part. I may even run a layer of streusel down the middle *and* on top.

    • Lynn A. Decker

      Here’s a picture of my bread… as you can see, it’s quite brown on top (my sugar looks like sesame seeds – LOL!), but it was (at the risk of being redundant), AMAZING.

      • Love the picture, Lynn! Two things about your baking issue: Glass pans are not my first choice for baking because they run very hot and tend to burn the outside before the inside is baked. If it took a long time to bake, you’re right that the size of the pan would make for a denser loaf which would take longer to bake on the inside. Do you use an oven thermometer? If it took forever to bake, I’d say that your oven might actually be (believe it or not) running too cold. The glass pan would make the outside cook really fast, but the not-hot-enough-oven would make it take too long to bake all the way to the center. Does that make sense?

        • Lynn A. Decker

          It absolutely makes sense, and I will be trying this again (I was at my sister’s house, and all she has is Pyrex. I don’t use Pyrex for baking for exactly this reason).

          Oh – and I wanted to share that I have created Excel spreadsheets to calculate what I need to make your Better Than Cup4Cup blend — all I have to do is type in the number of “cups” I need, and it will tell me how many grams of each component I will need. Cool, huh?

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  • Julie Sorbo

    This is my 1st gluten free on a shoestring recipe. I must admit I was quite skeptical. As I was mixing the consistency was so thick & fluffy it went up the beaters of my handmixer like nothing I’ve seen before. This cranberry bread is absolutely delicious! I didn’t have time to halve the cranberries so I put about half in the bullet (mini food processor) for just a quick sec- which made some tiny bits & I left the rest whole. The cranberries were still nice and evenly distributed throughout. I also got brave and substituted 1/4 cup orange juice & 1/2 cup milk (for the 3/4 cup milk) I can’t taste the orange much but it did work without messing up the recipe. I used better than cup4cup. I can’t wait to try another recipe now. The measuring seemed a bit complicated but I can say that it was worth the extra effort! I made my better than cup4cup late at night while everyone was sleeping, and got some of the prep done ahead of time. Can’t wait for the gluten free on a shoestring bakes bread in ibooks. Will make a great Christmas present- hint hint hubby :-)

  • Julie Sorbo

    Here it is! Had to crop- my comment is below

  • Karen Tobin Cole

    This bread is amazing! I made it last night and it’s already gone. I think it might be my favorite quick bread. I usually find quick breads a bit too sweet and this one is perfect. Thanks for the great recipe!

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